A detective constable has been dismissed without notice at the conclusion of a hearing following an off-duty altercation with two members of the public.
DC Ben Jones faced three allegations which related to inappropriate language, use of force and misuse of a warrant card in an attempt to seize CCTV.
He was found to have breached the standard of professional behaviour for integrity; authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct following a three-day hearing. Allegations around honesty and use of force were not upheld.
An independent misconduct panel held last week heard DC Jones had become involved in an argument with two men over social distancing at a Tesco Express store in Shefford on 18 April last year – during the height of the first national Covid lockdown.
During the incident DC Jones admitted pushing one of the men in self-defence before identifying himself as a police officer. The men also claimed he swore at them on several occasions during the incident, some of which he admitted.
He then spoke to the Tesco manager about CCTV, claiming he had wanted the manager to preserve it as evidence for any investigation.
He and the men involved reported the incident to the police and an investigation was launched.
DC Jones contested the allegations, but the panel ruled against him on two counts including not having a lawful purpose to attempt to seize the CCTV.
The breaches were found to have amounted to gross misconduct and he was dismissed without notice.
In determining the outcome, the panel’s legally qualified chair Karimulla Akbar Khan, said:
“The proven facts of this case point to the officer who lost his temper during the incident even after he had declared himself an officer and sought inappropriately to assert his authority over a member of the public.
“While the panel accepts that this was a difficult time for everyone given the Covid-19 pandemic, the officer’s behaviour in the view of the Panel constitutes a significant breach of public trust.”